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Traditional Puerto Rican foods

Pilones a traditional puerto rican food

Farmer’s Markets and Plazas del Mercado can be found in most towns all over the island. Here you will find a great variety of local fruits and vegetables and even the unique flavors of traditional Puerto Rican foods. Here’s a couple you should keep ion your watch list.  


Maví is probabably one of the first fermented beverages ever made in the Caribbean. The Taíno Indians are believed to be the originators of this concoction made from the bark of a hanging vine popularly known as “bejuco taíno” or taíno vine.  This type of beverage is also found throughout the Spanish, English and French islands of the Caribbean where it goes by the names of mauby, mabí o maví. 

Preparation is pretty basic. The crushed bark of the vine is boiled to extract the essence, it’s filtered and then sugar is added. Since its a slightly fermented drink a bit of a previously aged batch is added as a “mother” to the new brew to provide yeast. Its then left out in the sun for three days until it begins to froth. That’s when its ready to drink. Cold is best. 

All maví on the island is handmade and sold at roadside stands or in farmer’s markets. The taste is similar to root beer but with a slight non-astringent bitter finish. Be on the look out for vendors with brown gallon jugs with a little bit of foam coming out of the top. That’s the sign of maví. People say it is good for digestion and for lowering cholesterol. 

Queso del pais or puerto rican cheese
Traditional Puerto Rican cheese

Queso del País

Another favorite traditional Puerto Rican food is queso del país or Puerto Rican cheese. Its a very quick cheese made with three ingredients; whole milk, lemon juice and sometimes a bit of salt. You will find it wrapped in parchment paper and rolled into small logs. But don’t mistake simple for unsavory, queso del país is addictive, especially if you pair it with sweet dulce de guayaba or guava paste.


This traditional beverage has an even more basic preparation. The juice extracted from sugar cane stalks is filtered and served with ice. The flavor offers slight grassy notes coupled with just the right amount of sweetness. Guarapo is getting harder to find because of the disappearance of many sugar cane plantations.


Pilones are traditional lollipops. This hard candy is set in a cylindrical shape. You can find them almost everywhere in a variety of flavors. Cherry is the most popular. Some feature sesame seeds for an interesting contrast.

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